March Advance Retail Sales Beat Expectations

April 14th, 2014

by Doug Short

The Advance Retail Sales Report released this morning shows that sales in March rose 1.1% month-over-month, up from 0.7% in February, which was upwardly revised from 0.3%. Core Retail Sales (ex Autos) was up 0.7% in March following an unrevised 0.3% in February.

Today's headline and core numbers came above the forecasts, which were 0.8% for Headline and 0.5% for Core.

The first chart below is a log-scale snapshot of retail sales since the early 1990s. I've included an inset to show the trend in this indicator over the past several months.

Here is the Core version, which excludes autos.

Here is a year-over-year snapshot of overall series.

Here is the year-over-year performance of at Core Retail Sales.

Here is an overlay of Headline and Core Sales since 2000.

After the March Consumer Price Index is released tomorrow, we'll take a more detailed look at retail sales adjusted both for inflation and population growth.

Bottom Line : The Advance retail sales, both headline and core, came in better than expected in March, which is a hopeful sign that the winter slump was indeed weather related.

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